by Sybil PrattAugust, 2006
We've all enjoyed armchair travel and what I've called armchair cooking dreaming about recreating Thomas Keller's ultra-haute oysters and pearls or whipping up one of Ferr‡n Adriˆ's magical foams. In Big Sky Cooking, by Meredith Brokaw (yes, Tom's wife) and Ellen Wright, we have a wonderfully enjoyable example of armchair living, recipes included. Montana is not exactly an exotic destination, nor are these down-to-earth dishes difficult to make, but most of us don't live on a large ranch with a great trout stream in an isolated valley north of Yellowstone. Tom and Meredith Brokaw do it's their perfect complement to the hurly-burly pace of Manhattan and it's been their shared passion for more than 16 years. With help from her friend, cookbook author Ellen Wright, glorious full-color photographs and Montana reflections by five of their literary friends, Meredith shares her home on the range with you. The meals and menus follow the rhythm of the ranch: forget cholesterol and breakfast on Bacon and Egg Pie and Lala's lavish Cheese Grits; for lunch, stuff pita pockets with easy Curried Chicken Salad or try the unusual Stetson Salad, with an intensely flavored aioli/pesto dressing. When there's an ocean of stars overhead, bring on the Dutch Oven Short Ribs and Marjoram Onions, grill Chipotle Chicken and end the evening with Rhubarb Crisp or Strawberry Fool. Good life, good eats, I think I'll move in.